By Matt Sieger
The formula for determining the golf team champion of the Monticello Empire League is a bit complicated.
Vacaville High, however, kept it simple and erased all doubt by not only going 10-0 in the regular season but also winning the league tournament on a sunny but windy Tuesday afternoon at Rancho Solano golf course.
The Bulldogs were led by Jack Mitchells’s 86 over 18 holes, followed by Ben Wilhite (89), Dylan Dzierman (97), Tyler Riley (100), and Evan Wilson (108), for the low team score of the day, 480.
Source: Vacaville High nabs boys golf crown – The Reporter
That is what some of Solano County’s top wordsmiths in fourth through sixth grade will be demonstrating when the Solano County Office of Education hosts its 45th annual Spelling Bee, which will be held virtually this year. The preliminary round will be held at 9 a.m. Saturday, with the top spellers advancing to the final round on April 13.
According to an SCOE news release, 25 public and private schools from throughout the county are on tap to participate in this event.
Source: SCOE hosting virtual spelling bee – The Reporter
The preliminary rounds of the 45th annual Solano County Spelling Bee are scheduled to start Saturday and will feature participants from 25 schools.
The contest is open to all public and private schools serving fourth-, fifth- and sixth-grade students.
“Spelling bees serve as a way to improve a student’s comprehension skills; strengthen listening, spelling and writing proficiencies, while expanding on a student’s extensive vocabulary,” Solano County Superintendent of Schools Lisette Estrella-Henderson said in a statement. “Students participating in the Spelling Bee competition also have the opportunity to gain confidence in public speaking and learn to be gracious winners, while having fun with their peers.”
Source: Prelims of Solano County Spelling Bee set to begin Saturday – virtually
By Ryan Hill
“It feels really good to be back,” Caitlyn Chalmers, a senior at Will C. Wood High School, said.
Being masked-up and socially distant means a lot for Chalmers. She and the rest of her senior class are able to have somewhat of a normal ending of her senior year.
“It means a lot just to see everyone for a little bit before we go our separate ways,” Chalmers said.
“As we got further along with staying at home, I really didn’t think it was going to happen.”
Chalmers told CBS13 that she was a junior when she and her classmates were forced into distance learning.
Source: Vacaville Students Welcomed Back For In-Person Learning After Over A Year – CBS Sacramento
By Nick Sestanovich
Putting up festive displays is a hallmark for the first day of the academic year is a hallmark for Will C. Wood High School. While not technically being the first day of the year, Monday had a big reason to celebrate: it was the first day of in-person learning since March 2020, when all campuses closed because of the coronavirus.
Wood — as well as all of Vacaville Unified School District’s middle and high schools — reopened its campus for the district’s new hybrid schedule Monday, following the reopening of the district’s elementary schools Thursday.
The secondary schools are gradually easing students back in with the 25 percent hybrid model, where students come to campus one day a week, based on the first letter of their last name, and continue to learn from home the rest of the week. This will change after students return from spring break on April 12, where half of the students are on campus Mondays and Tuesdays, and the other half of the students are on campus Thursdays and Fridays. All students will continue to learn remotely Wednesdays.
Source: Coronavirus: Middle, high school students return to campus – The Reporter
The California Department of Education (CDE) today has posted estimated local education agency (LEA) allocations from the $6.6 billion made available as part of the Assembly Bill (AB) 86 External link opens in new window or tab. COVID-19 relief package. The funding provided by AB 86 will accelerate the safe return to in-person instruction across California and provide schools the resources to expand academic, mental health and social-emotional supports, including over the summer.
“As more school districts across California announce plans to bring students back into classrooms, we at the CDE are providing the technical support our schools need to access resources in a timely way so educators can focus on providing a safe return to in-person learning, accelerate learning, and begin recovering,” said State Superintendent Tony Thurmond.
A breakdown of how the $2 billion for In-Person Instruction (IPI) Grants and $4.6 billion for Expanded Learning Opportunities (ELO) Grants were determined for each LEA are available on the CDE IPI and ELO Grants Funding Results web page.
Source: $6 Billion in Reopening/Expanded Learning Funding – Year 2021 (CA Dept of Education)
By Thomas Gase
Vallejo City Unified School District Superintendent William Spalding made dates for hybrid learning official on Friday.
The dates were previously tentative, but Spalding said in a video that transitional kindergarten through sixth grade will begin on Monday, April 12. Meanwhile, seventh through 12th grade has been moved up a week to April 19.
The district has been in distance learning since March of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
At a VCUSD meeting earlier this month, Spalding said that Gov. Gavin Newsom would like all of the state to begin returning to in-person instruction by April 1, but if the district had a spring break during the next month, no penalty would be accessed as long as there was a plan in place for schools to return on the first possible day after the break.
Source: Vallejo City Unified School District announces official starting dates for hybrid learning – Times-Herald
By Nick Sestanovich
Familiar back-to-school scenes played out at Markham Elementary School Thursday — students lining up to enter their new classrooms, teachers laying down ground rules, cars lined up along the curb to drop off students and crossing guards back in full force.
There were also differences from past years — it was a cold March day instead of a hot mid-August one, social distancing markers on the ground, plastic barriers around some desks. And, the fact that students were simply continuing their lessons from the previous day but in a new environment.
One year and five days since Vacaville Unified School District made the decision to close all of its campuses for in-person learning because of the coronavirus, elementary students throughout the district returned to campuses Thursday for the new hybrid model, in which cohorts of students meet at different times of the day to ensure social distancing.
Source: Coronavirus: Excitement evident as Markham students return to in-person classes – The Reporter
By Heather Janssen
The pandemic has led to many missed milestones for students and their families, but there’s new hope graduation may go on.
The California Department of Public Health says districts can start making plans for possible in-person graduation ceremonies, as numbers trend in the right direction. The catch is that the ceremonies will likely be outdoors, with limits on who can attend.
Source: California Allows School Districts To Begin Making Plans For In-Person Graduations With Limits – CBS Sacramento
By Richard Bammer
Like most of us, Vacaville area educators, students and families recall the week in March 2020 when their world began to change. A year and some days since, many long for the “before times.”
However, across Solano County and the nation, online education has taken root. As classroom instruction is about to resume in a hybrid model for what’s left of the academic year, local educators hold out hope that students will welcome the change.
In emailed responses to a series of Reporter questions, Ed Santopadre, associate superintendent for Vacaville Unified, noted ways student learning and achievement has been affected by the pandemic and remote learning.
Source: Coronavirus: Solano public schools unlikely to return to the ‘before times’ – The Reporter
By Richard Bammer
Local educators on Friday weighed in the state Board of Education’s approval of guidelines to help local high schools develop or enhance ethnic studies courses, classes that researchers say can improve graduation and college-going rates among all students — and especially teens of color.
From the Vacaville Unified board president to area superintendents to ethnic studies teachers, they say there is a need to offer students, increasingly racially diverse in numbers, instruction about other cultures, knowledge that can be life-changing for all.
In their responses to Reporter questions, the local educators more or less reflected what state schools chief Tony Thurmond said Thursday after the state board voted unanimously on the model curriculum guidance. This ended years of often divisive debate over ethnic studies in California’s K-12 schools and how to show the histories, struggles, and contributions of Asians, Blacks, Latinos, and American Indians — and the racism and marginalization they have experienced in the United States — to millions of students.
Source: Local educators weigh in on state’s historic ethnic studies guide for high schools – The Reporter
By Richard Bammer
The Solano County Office of Education will offer a clinic in Fairfield Friday for county teachers needing a second-dose coronavirus vaccine.
The clinic will held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and again from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. at SCOE offices, 5100 Business Center Drive.
Jennifer Leonard, a spokeswoman for SCOE, said the clinic is the second such event for more than 1,000 Solano County school employees.
Source: Coronavirus: Second-dose vaccinations set today for Solano County educators – The Reporter
By Todd R. Hansen
Kris Corey said she teared up when she saw the preschoolers return to the Mary Bird Early Childhood Center for the first time since March 2020.
“I was over there (Monday), and seriously, I started crying,” said Corey, the superintendent of the Fairfield-Suisun School District. “It was so amazing to see.”
The school welcomed back 95 children, ages 3 to 5, with 50 opting to remain in the afternoon distance learning program.
Source: Fairfield-Suisun campuses opening to students at all levels
The State Board of Education today voted to give California school districts the opportunity to use either state tests or other standards-aligned assessments to gauge student learning this spring.
The vote builds on last month’s Board action to apply for the maximum flexibility offered by the U.S. Department of Education in testing, accountability and reporting requirements and to seek further options that account for the impact of COVID-19 on educators, families, and schools.
The Board is seeking to allow districts to use the best assessment tool available for the local context this spring, as many of them are still providing distance learning and working to reopen schools. Options include the state’s Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments and California Alternate Assessments for English language arts and mathematics, the Smarter Balanced interim assessments, or other diagnostic, benchmark, or interim assessments that:
Source: Additional Spring Testing Flexibility for Schools – Year 2021 (CA Dept of Education)
BY Sydney Johnson
California school officials scratching their heads over how to roll out standardized tests this spring could soon have another option.
On Tuesday, the State Board of Education voted unanimously to seek a waiver from the U.S. Department of Education that would allow California school districts to use locally selected tests rather than the Smarter Balanced statewide assessments, which are required by state and federal education law.
“It has become clear that the persistent gaps that existed in our education system pre-pandemic have become chasms,” said Rachael Maves, deputy superintendent of public instruction for the Instruction and Measurement Branch of the California Department of Education. “In this context, it seems not only appropriate but necessary” to measure student learning.
Source: California could allow school districts to choose their own standardized tests this year – The Reporter
Allison McCabe, a Benicia High School student, was the overall winner of the recent 2021 Virtual Science and Engineering Fair.
McCabe also took first in the Physical Science category in the Senior Division, in which high school students competed. There were also Elementary (third through fifth grades and Junior (sixth through eighth grades) divisions. McCabe is a sophomore.
“Our goal is to inspire more students to consider a career in science, engineering or a related field. The fair is an excellent opportunity for our elementary, middle and high school students to apply science and engineering skills to investigate problems, gather and evaluate evidence, and develop conclusions. Events like the Science and Engineering Fair have the potential to spark a lifelong interest in a related field.” Solano County Superintendent of Schools Lisette Estrella-Henderson said in a statement announcing the winners.
Source: Benicia High student tops all others at science, engineering fair
Vallejo City Unified School District’s Regional Education Center is being recognized for a proposal to train and assist disadvantaged people to succeed in lifting themselves up through construction apprenticeship and union affiliation into highly sustainable careers. Included partnerships are with North Bay Trades Instruction Program, Construction Trades Workforce Initiative, Solano Workforce Development Board, and Napa Solano Building Trades. The proposal seeks to provide opportunities to English language learners who are pursuing career opportunities in the construction trades with English language support, math support, and TIP pre-apprenticeship programs.
Source: Local adult ed provider earns national recognition – The Sun-Gazette Newspaper
Students of all ages throughout Solano County put their scientific and engineering skills to the test, and many walked away with top prizes in Solano County Office of Education’s Science and Engineering Fair.
Held virtually this year, with an award ceremony that was held Tuesday, the competition had students put together engineering and science projects, which were judged by representatives from different universities.
Students are broken off into three divisions: elementary for third through fifth-graders, junior for sixth through eighth-graders and senior for ninth through 12th-graders. The top winners in the competition are eligible to enter the California State Science and Engineering Fair, which is slated for April 12 to 13 at the California Science Center in Los Angeles.
Source: SCOE names winners in science, engineering competition – The Reporter
With more Californians relying on the internet during the coronavirus pandemic for distance learning and remote work, state Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, today announced the introduction of his new legislation to streamline the installation of high-speed broadband service, ensuring better access, especially for low-income people.
“California can take immediate steps to close the digital divide by passing this proposal,” Sen. Dodd said. “For too long, telecommunication projects have been delayed by confusing regulations, entrenched in excessive bureaucracy. These processes have had a severe impact on bringing high-speed internet to many communities across California.”
Dodd’s legislation comes as employers and schools across our state have shifted to virtual participation, highlighting disparities of access faced by low-income families and people of color. Nearly 42% of California families said unreliable internet access was a challenge for them during distance learning, according to a recent poll by EdSource and FM3 Research.
Source: Dodd introduces broadband upgrade bill – Davis Enterprise
By Kris Corey
Ten students represented Fairfield High School’s (FHS) Patient Care pathway at the Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) Regional Competitive Event on February 24 and 26. Students competed in both the Sports Medicine event and the First Aid/CPR event. All six FHS students who competed in the Sports Medicine event earned highly competitive scores, which will enable them to represent the Fairfield High Falcons at the statewide HOSA competition on March 24.
This is the inaugural year of Fairfield High School’s HOSA chapter. The February competition marks the very first time that FHS Falcons have competed at a HOSA event. The Fairfield High HOSA team is now the third Career Technical Student Organization (CTSO) from the Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District to earn high honors at a CTSO competition this year. This team joins the Rodriguez High School chapter of the Future Farmers of America and the Armijo High School Virtual Enterprise team which were recognized earlier this year.
Source: Press Release: Fairfield High Sports Medicine Students Move on to State Competition